Phillips Refuses Legislative Pay Raise - Will Donate the Extra Pay to Charity

While the state of Illinois languishes through the summer without a budget in place, State Representative Reggie Phillips said it’s unconscionable that Democrats in the General Assembly are preparing to give themselves a pay raise. Representative Phillips (R-Charleston) today said that if he and fellow House Republicans can’t stop the legislative pay raise outright, he will donate his to a local charity.

“We’re in the middle of the worst budget crisis in state history. We have more than $5 billion in unpaid bills and we can’t make payments to daycare providers, those that work with the disabled and others. Attorney General Madigan is going to court to try to stop pay for state employees while we don’t have a budget in place... and Speaker Madigan and the Democrats think they deserve a raise?! That’s almost beyond belief,” Phillips said.

Under state law, the Compensation Review Board regularly recommends cost of living adjustment pay increases for members of the General Assembly and other state elected officials. Those pay raises go into effect automatically unless the General Assembly passes legislation to specifically reject them.

House Republicans have introduced House Bill 4225 which will do just that. For weeks House Republicans have attempted repeatedly to adopt the bill to reject the pay raises, but have been blocked each time by the Speaker and House Democrats who refuse to allow the issue to even be debated.

This year’s 2% pay raise recommendation for members of the House amounts to about $1,300. Representative Phillips said if the raise is not stopped by legislation, state law does not allow him to simply refuse it. But if he can’t stop it, he will donate it to the Mattoon chapter of the Salvation Army.

“Speaker Madigan and the Democrats say we need a tax increase because we don’t have enough revenue to pay for necessary services…but apparently they think we do have enough money to give them a pay raise. It’s just mind-boggling,” Phillips said. “We will be facing many difficult budget decisions this summer, but this should be an easy one. Speaker Madigan needs to demonstrate some fiscal responsibility. He needs to immediately release HB 4225 from the House Rules Committee so we can reject the pay raises and allocate those dollars where they can help our communities.”